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A global milestone has been achieved. More than 100 countries and territories —105 in total —have required picture warnings on cigarette packages.

This finding comes from an international report released today at COP7. This new report, Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report, provides an overview ranking of 205 countries and territories based on warning size, and lists those that have finalized requirements for picture warnings. Regional breakdowns are also included.

Copies of the report are available at the Framework Convention Alliance booth.

Delegates are welcome to take as many copies of the report as they would like for use in their home countries.

Fifty eight percent of the world’s population is now covered by final requirements for picture warnings, and many more countries are in the process of doing so. One hundred and five countries is an increase from the 77 countries that had implemented picture warnings by the end of 2014.

For size, Nepal is the new world leader with warnings that cover 90 percent of the package front and back. Vanuatu will require 90 percent in 2017. India and Thailand are next, tied for third with 85 percent India has improved its global ranking considerably, moving from 136th in 2014 to third in 2016.

There are now 94 countries and jurisdictions (up from 66 in 2014) requiring warnings to cover at least 50 percent (on average) of the package front and back, and at least 142 requiring a minimum size (on average) of at least 30 percent.

Enormous progress continues to be made around the world.

Well-designed package warnings are a highly cost-effective means to increase awareness of the health effects and to reduce tobacco use. Picture-based messages are far more effective than text-only messages. Indeed, a picture says a thousand words.

Pictures attract more attention, and reach individuals who are illiterate or who cannot read the national language(s). For size, the effectiveness of warnings increases with size. Larger ones allow for bigger and better pictures, additional information and/or a larger font size.

The new report, currently available in English and French, was prepared by the Canadian Cancer Society, in collaboration with the Framework Convention Alliance.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is assisting with translations for Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Rob Cunningham and Meaghan Dunn
Canadian Cancer Society

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